Below you will find the results of our Maddie's® Idea Lab research projects. Browse results to help you enhance lifesaving, find simple and inexpensive solutions at your organization and more!

Foster Care for Stressed and Fearful Dogs

Rhea Moriarty December 31, 2017   Research Complete   Phase 1

Longmont Humane Society evaluated an expansion of their foster program to include foster caregivers trained to foster dogs who are shy, anxious or otherwise stressed in the kennel environment. A total of 33 dogs were sent to foster homes through this project. Of 33 dogs, 31 were successfully adopted (94% live release rate).

Foster Team Implementation at Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society

Steven Rogelberg and Lea WilliamsJune 30, 2017   Research Complete   Phase 1

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte worked with Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to evaluate the implementation of a foster team. PAWS successfully implemented the program; their participation aided in further development of the foster team concept.

Foster Teams Survey

Steven Rogelberg and Lea WilliamsJune 30, 2017   Research Complete   Survey

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte evaluated the level of interest in developing teams of people (foster teams) who work together to find homes for foster pets. Foster Teams are comprised of people who fulfill different roles, such as team lead, photographer, pet transport, caregivers, etc. The results revealed that there was stronger interest in foster teams among prospective vs. existing foster caregivers. Many respondents felt that foster teams may lead to more community involvement in fostering and more adoptions.

Foster Team Implementation at Nine Shelters

Steven Rogelberg and Lea WilliamsJune 15, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 3

The University of North Carolina evaluated the implementation of foster teams at nine animal shelters. Overall, there was high excitement for but low engagement in the project. Participants reported that there many organizational barriers to implement the program. Smaller shelters were more successful in implementing foster teams than were larger shelters. Foster care managers reported a lighter workload and more support when teams were implemented.

"Home to Home" Pilot Program

Denise Deisler and Nikki HarrisFebruary 15, 2019   Research Complete   Phase 1

Jacksonville Humane Society's "Home to Home" program empowered people surrendering their pets by assisting them with rehoming their pets, negating the need to surrender them. The project provided rehoming support for 678 pets and successfully rehomed 208 pets.

Accuracy of Breed Identification in Shelter Dogs and the Effect of Breed on Perceived Adoptability

Anne Runkel, Amelia Funghi and April StevensonOctober 5, 2016   Research Complete   Basic Research

Berkeley Animal Care Services (BACS) assessed the accuracy of breed assignment by shelter staff and whether the display of DNA analysis on kennels impacted adoptability. The study found that displaying DNA results tended to improve a dog's adoption potential. Predominant breed assigned by shelter staff was often inaccurate, which is consistent with other studies, and did not increase a dog's adoption potential.

Behavioral Interventions to Promote Dog Adoptions

Alexandra ProtopopovaMarch 31, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 3

Texas Tech University studied meet-and-greets (e.g., the first physical meeting of an adoptable dog and a potential adopter) in relation to adoption rates in 8 shelters. The study found that shelters that already have more structured meet-and-greets adopt out a higher percentage of dogs, as compared to shelters with unstructured meet-and-greets. However, the results of implementing this behavioral intervention's best practices (baseline vs. experimental condition) were inconclusive.

Canine Parvovirus Treatment in Shelters

Ellen Jefferson and Kevin HoreckaMay 31, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 1

In part one of this project, Austin Pets Alive! evaluated the effectiveness of their in-shelter parvovirus treatment program and assessed the average treatment cost. It also researched factors that can increase or decrease the likelihood of dog survival. The project found that nearly 90% of the dogs treated survived parvovirus with supportive care, and that this care can be given at fairly minimal cost (approximately $53 and 8 hours of care per dog). In the second part of this project, both adopters of parvo-treated puppies and adopters of puppies who had not been infected (e.g., the matched control group) were surveyed regarding any post-adoption medical and/or behavioral conditions. The study found no significant impact on behavioral or health outcomes in parvo-treated puppies as compared to healthy puppies.

Community Kitten Foster Initiative

Christi MetropoleFebruary 28, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 1

Stray Cat Alliance's Safe-At-Home project prevents unweaned kittens, who are at-risk due to their inability to eat on their own, from entering the shelter. The program works by intercepting community members bringing these kittens to the shelter and encouraging them to foster the kittens until they are old enough to be adopted. The program educates community foster caregivers on how to care for orphaned kittens and provides supplies and veterinary care. In 2017, the goal was to save 400 - 450 kittens; the program cared for 563 kittens and saved 468 (83%) of them.

Do Labels Matter? A Pilot Study.

Liz Finch, Gary Patronek, Michelle Logan, Stephanie Macgill and Kelly KramerAugust 31, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 1

Best Friends Animal Society and Dr. Gary Patronek completed a pilot study at PACC investigating the effect of breed labeling, or lack thereof, on the adoption of shelter dogs. This study also compared breed assignments in the shelter's database with DNA data. However, because DNA analysis results were almost always not back before the dog was adopted, this part of the study involved primarily a comparison of staff guess of breed to providing no breed information. The results of this pilot study revealed that having no breed information on kennel cards contributed to a longer length of stay (LOS). Further investigation is needed before these results should be used to impact shelter protocols.

Evaluation of Newly Developed Lifesaving Protocol for Prematurely Born Kittens

Sheryl BlancatoApril 30, 2019   Research Complete   Phase 1

The study evaluated the success of Second Chance Animal Services' protocol to save pregnant feral cats and their kittens by performing a C-section, spaying the feral moms, returning them to their habitats, and providing care for kittens until adoption. Kittens from litters born to reasonably healthy moms were all successfully adopted as pets and extremely well-adjusted.

Evaluation of Temporary Fostering Programs on Shelter Dog Welfare and Future Behavior in Adoptive Homes at Four US Animal Shelters

Clive Wynne, Erica Feuerbacher and Lisa GunterApril 30, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 3

Arizona State University investigated the benefits of short-term fostering on shelter dog welfare at four animal shelters in the United States. Dog activity and urinary cortisol (a hormonal indicator of stress) were used to assess dog behavior and stress. The study demonstrated a reduction in stress (cortisol) when dogs stayed in foster homes. When dogs returned to the shelter, urinary cortisol returned to baseline levels. Shelter dogs with the highest baseline stress levels showed the most dramatic reductions in cortisol while in foster care.

Evaluation of Temporary Fostering Programs on Shelter Dog Welfare and Future Behavior in Adoptive Homes

Erica Feuerbacher and Lisa GunterJuly 31, 2017   Research Complete   Phase 1

Carroll College evaluated a short-term foster program for dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. The results suggest that dogs' stress decreases while in foster care. The researchers observed a statistically significant decrease in dogs' cortisol levels (a hormonal indicator of stress) while on sleepovers. Dogs' cortisol returned to baseline levels after returning to the shelter, but did not increase above pre-foster levels.

Exploring Foster Programs and Their People, Management and Leadership Challenges

Steven RogelbergSeptember 30, 2016   Research Complete   Basic Research

Organizations that utilize foster programs are eclectic in structure and nature. The purpose of this University of North Carolina, Charlotte project was to learn about the structure of fostering organizations, what they need to carry out their missions and the principal challenges that they face from the perspective of people, leadership, and management.

Formalization and Analysis of ARK Transfer Programs

Mary Lou Marganis and Kristen ClancyJune 30, 2017   Research Complete   Phase 1

Animal Rescue Konnection (ARK) developed and formalized a simple yet effective and inexpensive set of programs that successfully transfer dogs displaying behavioral struggles in shelters to environments that support and encourage positive behavior, improving their chances for re-homing.

Foster Caregiver Turnover Study

Steven Rogelberg and Lea WilliamsJune 30, 2017   Research Complete   Basic Research

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte evaluated reasons why foster caregivers stop volunteering and ways to retain them. The top five factors were: needing time to focus solely on one's own pets, adopting too many of the animals themselves (e.g. "too many foster fails"), schedule not compatible with foster caregiving, personal issues (e.g. age/health-related issues, taking care of loved ones, divorce, etc.) and living situation not compatible with foster caregiving. Factors that can improve foster caregiver retention include: improved communication, offer more training opportunities, assistance with finding homes for pets, offer more flexible fostering arrangements, more opportunities for caregivers to provide input, and increase recognition/appreciation.

Foster Field Trips Implementation

Kristen Auerbach, Kelly Duer, Anastasia Shabelansky and Sheila D'ArpinoMarch 7, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 2

This project evaluated whether short-term outings (foster field trips) at Louisville Metro Animal Services improve dog welfare. Dogs that went on field trips showed significant improvement on 15 of 21 measures of behavior, among them increases in playfulness, happiness confidence and relaxation, and decreases in anxiousness, fearfulness and repetitive behavior. During the study, 51 dogs were taken on short-term outings lasting about 3 hours.

Kitten Fostering 4 Rock Stars

Karen Green, Kristi Brooks and Amy FischerApril 30, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 3

Cat Adoption Team evaluated their program to teach organizations how to implement their Fostering 4 Rock Stars (F4RS) model for training and supporting foster caregivers. Three animal welfare organizations were engaged in this training, which focused on providing caregivers with foster kits, supporting caregivers by providing access to mentors, and making kittens available for adoption before spay/neuter. All groups increased their lifesaving capacity through adoption of the F4RS model. Based on pre- and post- project satisfaction surveys, staff and foster volunteer perceptions of the groups' foster programs also improved significantly.

Fundraising for Community Kitten Foster Initiative

Christi MetropoleApril 30, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 1

Stray Cat Alliance evaluated the sustainability of the Safe-At-Home project by fundraising for the project within their community. The project used the following channels to increase the support: direct mail, email/social media, major gifts & mid-level donors, sponsorship and events. The project was successful; funding increased from 2017 to 2018.

Medium and Large Adult Dog Foster Project

Kristen Auerbach, Kelly Duer, Anastasia Shabelansky and Sheila D'ArpinoOctober 19, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 3

The goals of this Austin Animal Center study were to assess the effect of foster care on medium-to-large dogs at multiple shelter locations in the United States and to measure the impact of the foster program on staff morale. The results from this study suggest that dogs benefit dramatically from foster care. Behaviors associated with well-being improved and those associated with poor well-being lessened. Shelters should utilize foster care to improve welfare and find homes for dogs because it has a significant impact on behavior, well-being and adoption.

Solving Economic Euthanasia by Early Intervention

Steven MornelliMay 31, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This Waggle project evaluated an operating model that utilizes matching donations through crowdfunding to cover costs of veterinary care. Waggle connects with veterinarians and shelters to lend credibility to their crowdfunding. Their findings suggest that matching funds positively impact both the amount of money raised and the probability of reaching 100% of pet owners' financial needs.

Associations Between Owner Personality and Psychologic Status and the Prevalence of Canine Behavior Problems

Nicholas Dodman and James SerpellFebruary 2, 2017   Research Complete   Basic Research

The Center for Canine Behavior Studies explored the effects of owner personality and mental health on dog behavior and owner's choice of training methods. Overall, the study found significant associations between 4 of the 'Big Five' human personality traits and the prevalence of some canine behavior problems, and a strong association between male owner depression and the use of aversive/punitive training methods. However, there was little evidence that training methods are the primary mechanism for influencing behavior.

Socialization and Problem Solving in Shelter Cats

Mary C. HowardFebruary 28, 2018   Research Complete   Basic Research

The University of Tennessee studied the relationship between a cat's socialization toward humans and cats' problem-solving ability. According to the Social Intelligence Hypothesis, which states that intelligence evolved due to complex social environments, an animal's social life should result in higher cognitive abilities. The results of this study provide evidence that domestic cats are not only capable of problem-solving, but that their socialization towards humans influences their abilities.

Post Adoption Behavioral Training Support

Alice NightengaleApril 30. 2019   Research Complete   Phase 1

Denver Animal Protection (DAP) evaluated a post-adoption program which offered free training services and supplies to adopters of dogs with manageable behavioral challenges. Fifty-two dogs and puppies were enrolled in the program and subsequently adopted. By the conclusion of the study, 32 adopters (61.5%) had utilized the post-adoption training services. Adopters who had utilized the training support were less likely to return their dogs (3, 9.4%) than were adopters who did not (5, 25%). None of the 52 dogs were euthanized for behavioral reasons.

Screening Shelter Cats for FeLV: Balancing Disease Control and Life Saving

Julie LevyJune 30, 2018   Research Complete   Basic Research

The University of Florida evaluated whether cats at Austin Pets Alive! who tested positive for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) at intake would remain positive upon retesting, by 4 different methods, at one month intervals for 6 months. The study found that a single test, or a test given at a single point in time, may not be sufficient to determine if a cat has FeLV or not, and that commonly used confirmatory tests may not be definitive. Practical follow-up tests are needed to help determine disease status with the understanding that FeLV disease states may be better represented as a continuum instead of discrete states.

The Use, Safety and Perception of Dog Playgroups in Animal Shelters

Anastasia Shabelansky and Sheila SegursonJanuary 7, 2018   Research Complete   Basic Research

Maddie's Fund® conducted a nationalonline survey regarding dog playgroup practices. The majority (83%) of responding organizations utilize playgroups, and with some frequency (71% had> 3 per week). However, the average number of dogs in each playgroup was small indicating that most organizations don't provide dogs with the opportunity to play with other dogs on a regular basis.

The Use, Policies and Perception of Cat and Dog Foster Care Programs

Anastasia ShabelanskyFebruary 28, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

Maddie's Fund® conducted an online survey to gain national baseline data regarding the utilization, structure and policies of cat and dog foster care programs. Foster programs appear to be fairly common practice in US shelter and rescues. However, most foster programs are relatively small with a small number of pets in foster care and a small number of active foster caregivers. The survey discovered a correlation between practices of a foster-centric shelter and having more foster caregivers. The majority of organizations who responded to this survey loved the foster-centric model of animal care, although there was considerably less interest in implementing it.

Acupuncture as a Means of Reducing Stress in Shelter Cats

Loukia Agapis and Mandy ErdeiAugust 31, 2017   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of Illinois Summer Scholar study investigated whether administering acupuncture to newly incoming shelter adult cats or kittens would reduce stress. The study results did not show significant difference in stress levels between cats that received acupuncture treatment and cats that did not.

Melatonin to Reduce Stress-Related Behaviors in Recently Impounded Dogs

Micaela YoungAugust 31, 2017   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

The Summer Scholar study aimed to determine if giving melatonin to shelter dogs in the evening would have an effect on their overnight activity, barking, or daytime behaviors. The study results show that melatonin at this dose had no clear effect on anxiety in the shelter environment. The groups differed significantly in two respects: the melatonin group was more active, and the melatonin group spent more time showing multiple defensive behaviors, the opposite of what was expected.

Effects of Probiotic Treatment on Cats Entering a Shelter

Wing Suen Lau and Bob WeedonSeptember 11, 2017   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of Illinois Summer Scholar research project explored the use of probiotics to decrease occurrences of diarrhea in shelter cats. Forty-four cats were given a Fortiflora-supplemented meal for seven days. Seven percent of probiotic-treated cats developed diarrhea for more than two days, compared to 16% of the control group, suggesting that Fortiflora can be beneficial in reducing the number of cats with diarrhea in shelters.

Zoonotic Intestinal Parasites and Efficacy of a Treatment Protocol

Melissa Bain and Micaela YoungAugust 31, 2017   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

The University of California at Davis Summer Scholar study aimed to determine if giving melatonin to shelter dogs in the evening would have an effect on their overnight activity, barking, or daytime behaviors.The study results show that melatonin at this dose had no clear effect on anxiety in the shelter environment. The groups differed significantly in two respects: the melatonin group was more active, and the melatonin group spent more time showing multiple defensive behaviors, the opposite of what was expected.

Comparison of Serotonin Levels between Pit Bull-Type and Non-Pit Bull-Type Dogs in Shelters

Rebecca Ruch-Gallie and Stephen PannoneAugust 31, 2017   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Colorado State University summer scholar study aimed to determine and compare 5-HT (serotonin) concentrations in pit bull-type dogs, who would be subject to breed restrictions, and non-pit bull-type dogs entering northern Colorado shelters. The results indicated no significant difference (P=0.085) in average 5-HT serotonin levels between pit bull-type and non-pit bull-type dogs.

Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Best Practices and Public Policy

Linda M. Daugherty, MPANovember 16, 2018   Research Complete   Basic Research

The Access to Veterinary Care Coalition at the University of Tennessee (UT) conducted a national study of pet owners, focusing on populations with inadequate access to veterinary care. The report entitled, Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy, was released December 17, 2018. The report found that an overwhelming barrier for all income groups of pet owners is financial for all types of care (80.0% for preventative care, 73.8% for sick care, and 55.7% for emergency care).

Assessment of Short-Term Foster Care Programs in Shelter Animals

Sheila Segurson and Anastasia ShabelanskyOctober 31, 2016   Research Complete   Basic Research

Maddie's Fund® conducted an online survey of shelter and rescue staff and volunteers to gain national baseline data around the duration, utilization, variation and perceived outcomes of short-term foster care programs for cats and dogs. Respondents reported that short-term foster programs often resulted in adoption and/or short-term caregivers becoming longer term foster caregivers.

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The Economic Impacts of Denver's Breed Specific Legislation

Kevin Morris, Sloane Hawes, Devrim Ikizler, Justin Marceau, Katy Loughney and Philip TedeschiSeptember 30, 2018   Research Complete   Basic Research

The University of Denver and Institute for Human-Animal Connection examined how the City and County of Denver's Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) ordinance, Section 8-55, introduced in 1989, has impacted the economic and social systems of the Denver community. The breed ban cost the city millions of dollars to implement and defend but resulted only in inconclusive public safety outcomes. Moreover, the ban has disproportionately affected individuals in underserved communities.

Sources of Pets in Austin, Texas: A Pilot Study of the Pet Acquisition Questionnaire

Sloane M. Hawes, Josephine Kerrigan, Tess Hupe and Kevin N. MorrisAugust 1, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This survey-based study aimed to better understand pet acquisition history, disposition toward future pet acquisition preferences and social influences in the city of Austin, Texas, with the ultimate purpose of developing policies and procedures that will increase rates of adoption. Although sample size was small (n=86), 81 (94%) respondents reported that they would consider obtaining their next pet from a shelter or rescue organization, whereas on the American Humane Association (2012) survey, only 56% of dog owners and 64% of cat owners said they would obtain their next pet from a shelter or rescue organization.

Sheltering Organization Policies Regarding Foster Caregivers

Anastasia ShabelanskyFebruary 28, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

Part of a larger study: The Use, Policies and Perception of Cat and Dog Foster Care Programs Maddie's Fund® conducted an online survey to gain national baseline data regarding cat and dog foster care programs. This summary specifically focuses on foster caregiver policies of enrollment, support and appreciation. Overall, organizations with more stringent requirements to become a foster caregiver tended to have relatively fewer foster caregivers.

Trends in Intake and Outcome Data for Colorado Animal Shelters and Rescues

Sloane M. Hawes, Bridget A. Camacho, Philip Tedeschi and Kevin N. MorrisFebruary 1, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This cross-sectional study from the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, at University of Denver, aimed to measure data trends in cat and dog intake, euthanasia, adoption, return to owner, transfers, deaths and live releases in 76 animal shelter and rescue facilities in Colorado from 2000 through 2015. Findings suggest substantial improvements that reflected changes in unhoused animal populations, the impact of resource allocation to spay-neuter programs, adoption marketing, inter-shelter transfers, and evidence-based improvements in operations.

Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters

Sloane M. Hawes, Josephine Kerrigan and Kevin MorrisMarch 8, 2017   Research Complete   Basic Research

This study from the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, at University of Denver, aimed to assess the factors that inform outcomes of older cats and dogs. This study found that a pet's condition at intake had the greatest impact on the outcomes. Additionally, the application of specialized veterinary care, such as orthopedic surgery or chronic disease maintenance, is discussed as factors that inform higher rates of live outcomes for these senior companion animals.

Coagulopathy in Pregnant Queens Undergoing Elective Ovariohysterectomies

Mack FudgeDecember 31, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This Hill Country Animal League study evaluated whether there is an increased risk of coagulopathy in pregnant cats that impacts their likelihood of survival during spay. The study included 236 cats that were grouped according to pregnant or non-pregnant status, and further broken down into six subgroups: not in heat, in heat, post-partum, early pregnant, mid-pregnant, or late pregnant. All the pregnancy subgroups were found to have much higher rates of bleeding than the overall incidence rate. Surgery (ovariohysterectomy) appeared to influence coagulation, with pregnancy appearing to increase hypercoagulability. Pregnant cats also broke down their clots faster.

Foster Parent Training: Does Behavior Consultation and Behavior Training Program Improve Foster Retainment?

Sarah Lozano-Ziebart, Dr. Valeri Farmer-DouganAugust 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Summer Scholar study aimed to determine: the motivations for fostering, preparedness and satisfaction of foster caregivers, and the efficacy of the resources available to them via Pet Central Helps. When training foster dogs, positive reinforcement and verbal reinforcement were reported as being used most often; however, there was a considerable amount of use of electronic collars, choke chains and prong collars. Education and communication regarding how and why positive reinforcement techniques are more effective in the long run should be a focus. While foster parents reported general confidence in dealing with low level behavioral issues such as jumping, there was far less confidence regarding their ability to handle aggression, resource guarding, barking and separation anxiety. A focus of shelter personnel should be to improve communication with foster parents overall, especially targeting pending adoption and adoption events as well as specialized medical treatments.

Assessment of Canine Activity in a Municipal Shelter

Dr. Marie HopfenspergerAugust 31, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This study was designed to determine average activity levels of dogs in a shelter environment and identify any associations between activity levels in shelter and behaviors in the home environment. Seventy-five singly-housed, adult dogs were enrolled in the study during the 8-month period. Sixty-seven adoptive owners consented to follow-up post adoption. Due to technical difficulties with the activity monitors and poor response rate from adopters, there was inadequate data for analysis. Thus, no results are reported at this time.

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Evaluation of Antibiotic Use in Shelter Cats with Upper Respiratory Infection

Sarah Proctor, DVM, MPH August 31, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This University of New Hampshire research project is evaluating the effect of antibiotic treatment in cats with signs of respiratory infection (URI) at the Cocheco Valley Humane Society in Dover, New Hampshire. The objective of the project is to compare the duration and severity of URI in cats treated with and without antibiotics.

Estimating the Cost to Care for Animals at Austin Pets Alive!

Sloane Hawes, Josephine Kerrigan, Tess Hupe, Tressa Nawyn, Kevin N. MorrisOctober 31, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This detailed case study from the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at University of Den-ver aimed to understand how an increased Live Release Rate (LRR) in Austin, TX has impacted parts of shelter operations, such as: cost per animal, length of stay (LOS) and companion animal quality of life. The findings create a template for calculating the direct costs associated with caring for companion animals at other sheltering and rescue organizations.

Foster Caregiver Involvement in Adoption: Community Pet Adoption Partnerships Survey

Amber FreiwaldJune 30, 2016   Research Complete   Basic Research

: In this survey, we examined the extent to which various organizations allow or encourage the involvement of their foster caregivers in the adoption process. Eighty-one percent strongly agreed or agreed that programs empowering foster caregivers to find homes for their foster animals are effective in increasing capacity and/or organizational resources, yet only 65% reportedly allowed foster caregivers to be highly involved in the adoption process.

Stray Kitten Fostering as an Intake Diversion Strategy: Community Pet Adoption Partnerships Survey

Amber FreiwaldMay 31, 2015   Research Complete   Basic Research

In this survey, we examined a stray kitten diversion strategy - specifically programs or actions which ask community members who bring in kittens to care for them until organizational resources are available or until the kittens are old enough to be placed for adoption. Organizations that report being particularly proactive, consistent, and enthusiastic in asking community members to care for stray kittens report greater numbers of community members following through and doing so.

Pet Owner Rehoming as an Alternative to Surrender: Community Pet Adoption Partnerships Survey

Amber FreiwaldMay 31, 2015   Research Complete   Basic Research

In this survey, we examined the extent to which the concept of pet rehoming was encouraged or implemented as a pet relinquishment diversion strategy by sheltering organizations. Pet relinquishment (e.g., owner surrender) is a very common occurrence in our work; however, only 49% of organizations surveyed here reported to empower the pet owner to find a home for their pet themselves to a "great extent".

Variables Influencing Visitor Interest and Adoption Likelihood in Dogs during Offsite Adoption Events

Alexandra ProtopopovaSeptember 25, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This study assessed which variables are most important in adopting a dog at off-site adoption events. Data showed that crating dogs, free adoption, and incentivizing volunteers resulted in better adoption outcomes for dogs displayed at adoption events.

Where Are They Now? An Exploratory Study of Transported Dogs in their Adoptive Homes

Emily McCobb, Carly NangleAugust 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Tufts University Summer Scholar study aimed to gather information regarding the in-home success, challenges and experiences of transported dogs in New England as compared to locally-sourced dogs to allow for a better understanding of the impact of transport programs. The study results show that transported dogs in this sample did not have more medical or behavioral problems than local dogs, that owners of these transported dogs were just as satisfied with their dog, and that these transported dogs did not have an increased incidence of rehoming or relinquishment. A surprising 15% of owners did not know the source of their dog, which could make it harder to identify the cause of a behavior problem or origin of a health problem.

Factors Associated with High Live Release for Dogs at a Large, Open-Admission, Municipal Shelter

Gary Patronek, Abbi CroweMarch 28, 2018   Research Complete   Phase 1

This research project from The Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, sought to better understand factors contributing to live release (e.g., rehoming). Results showed that temporary placement of dogs, who were either not immediately eligible or not strong candidates for adoption due to reasons such as age or health, increased the odds of live release after subsequent return to the shelter. Over a fifth (21%) of dogs originally brought to the shelter for owner-requested euthanasia were determined to be potentially savable and ultimately rehomed.

Feline Leukemia Virus in a Shelter Setting: Effectiveness and Outcome

Ellen JeffersonApril 30, 2019   Research Complete   Phase 1

This study evaluated Austin Pets Alive!'s (APA!) model of care and adoption of FeLV-positive cats (FeLV cats) and assessed the experiences of their adopters. Results showed that 90% of the FeLV-positive cats remain alive 12 months after adoption and the average age of surviving cats is 3.32 years thus far, exceeding the commonly industry-cited 2-3 year lifespan for FeLV cats. The majority (65%) of FeLV cat adopters felt that APA!'s education about FeLV was very helpful. Almost all (99%) FeLV cat adopters were happy with their cats, and 80% would be very likely to adopt a FeLV cat again.

The Forgotten Kitten Project

Ann DunnJuly 31, 2019   Research Complete   Phase 1

This Cat Town study aimed to evaluate the behavior of unsocialized kittens participating in a socialization program at Cat Town. Due to illness during the study period, only 7 kittens were able to complete the program where they were habituated to people. The kittens all exhibited improved behavior, with 5 of the 7 showing overall affiliative behaviors.

Evaluation of the Effects of Alpha-Casozepine on Cats Exhibiting Anxiety in the Shelter Setting

Marie Hopfensperger, Makenzie McDowellAugust 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Michigan State University Summer Scholar study aimed to assess efficacy of Zylkene (alpha-casozepine) for reducing anxiety in singly housed shelter cats, and investigate correlations between in-shelter stress and in-home behavior after adoption. The study enrolled a total of 27 cats and found no significant difference between treatment and control groups, with no clear benefit of Zylkene in this population.

Foster Family Preparedness, Compliance, and Retention at Midwest Animal Rescue and Services

Caitlyn Rize, Susan J. SpenceMay 1, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Summer Scholar research project assessed the foster program at Midwest Animal Rescue and Services (MARS), with the aim of understanding how to improve volunteer foster compliance and retention, develop effective training programs, and improve resources for volunteer fosters. Results showed 79% of foster caregivers felt that the training session helped them to feel better prepared; the majority thought it should take 24-48 hours to hear back via email or phone; and 36% of fosters missing prevention doses (36%) and rechecks (18%) among other findings.

When After Adoption (or After Entering Foster Care) are People Most Likely to Report New Behavioral or Health Problems in Dogs?

Nicole Fernandez, Mikel Delgado, Melissa BainFebruary 4, 2020   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of California Davis Summer Scholar study aimed to determine the prevalence of reported problems and any obvious data trends in dog foster and adopter survey responses by examining 36,000 surveys gathered by the Maddie's<sup>&reg;</sup> Pet Assistant mobile app. Behavior issues were the most prevalent problems reported, with house-soiling being the most frequently reported for both adopted and fostered dogs. Over 50% of respondents on Day 1, Day 3 and Day 30 reported no health issues in both adopted and foster dogs.

When After Adoption (or After Entering Foster Care) are People Most Likely to Report New Behavioral or Health Problems in Cats?

Nicole Fernandez, Mikel Delgado, Melissa BainJuly 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of California Davis Summer Scholar study aimed to determine the prevalence of reported problems and any obvious data trends in cats foster and adopter survey responses by examining 36,000 surveys gathered by the Maddie's® Pet Assistant app. Overall, cats fared well in their new homes. More than 70% of respondents on Days 1, 3, and 30 reported no health concerns for both adopted and fostered cats, and 85% of adopted cats peed in their litter box on Day 1. In both adopted and fostered cats, the most prevalent problems reported on Day 1 were associated with fear, including of fear of noise, environment, adults, cats and dogs.

Effectiveness of Rescue® in Reducing Parvovirus in the Environment

Zoie Schaefer, Laurie LarsonAugust 9, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Scholar study aimed to assess the effectiveness of Rescue®, a product with accelerated hydrogen peroxide commonly used in shelters for mass disinfection, in reducing Parvovirus in the environment, in comparison to bleach. Results showed that bleach solutions were the most effective disinfectant, followed by a 3% hydrogen solution, and a 1:16 Rescue® solution. Lower concentration levels of Rescue® did not show significant reductions of Parvovirus.

Evaluation of the Effects of Zylkene7reg; on Dogs Exhibiting Anxiety in the Shelter Setting

Margaret Haenn, Marie HopfensbergerFebruary 4, 2020   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Michigan State University Summer Scholar study aimed to assess the effectiveness of Zylkene® (primary ingredient: decapeptide caseinate hydrolysate) in relieving anxiety in dogs in a municipal shelter. Two different observers evaluated signs of stress exhibited by the enrolled dogs, but their findings were inconclusive. Observer #1 found that, of the 15 enrolled dogs, 6 of those that received treatment and 5 of the placebo group demonstrated lower anxiety. Observer #2 found that 3 enrolled dogs which received treatment and 3 enrolled dogs from the placebo group demonstrated lower anxiety.

The Role of Vitamin D as a Biomarker for Immune Function in Shelter Dogs

Dr. Jared JaffeyAugust 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This Midwestern University study aimed to determine if there was a link between immune function and Vitamin D in shelter dogs. The study found that dogs in a shelter for 7 days demonstrated more immune issues compared to healthy control dogs. There was no significant difference in the production of white blood cell production of cytokines between shelter dogs and healthy dogs. However, higher Vitamin D concentration was found to be associated with higher destruction of the bacterium, E. coli, per cell in both the control and shelter populations.

To Evaluate the Effects of Incubator Housing and Feeding Frequency on Growth Rate and Diarrhea in Orphaned Neonatal Kittens

Arielle LaymanJuly 31, 2019   Research Complete   Summer Scholar

This University of California Davis Summer Scholar study is part of a two-year project investigating 1) if orphaned neonatal kittens kept in incubators have significant differences in growth rate or incidence of diarrhea compared to those not kept in incubators, and 2) how differences in feeding frequency affect growth rate and incidence of diarrhea. The study found the incubator kittens (n=70) had a far higher prevalence of diarrhea at 69% than the control kittens (n=15) at 20%, without clear cause. Kittens with diarrhea had a slightly lower feeding frequency than kittens without diarrhea, suggesting more frequent but small meals may be beneficial in diarrhea prevention in neonates. There was little to no association found in feeding frequency and growth rate.

Establishing Normal Reference Intervals for Radiographic, Echocardiographic and Cardiac Biomarker Values in Healthy Kittens

Karen Vernau, DVMSeptember 30, 2019   Research Complete   Basic Research

This study aims to define the true normal reference intervals for kittens' hearts by radiographs and basic echocardiographic exam, as well as for cardiac biomarker testing.

Dog Habitat Housing Prototype

Janelle Dixon, Terri Zborowsky, SusanO'Conner-VonFebruary 20, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

The purpose of this Animal Humane Society study is to evaluate a prototype for dog housing. This prototype is a multi-dog environment that houses up to six dogs at once in a group. The hypothesis is that if the dogs are housed together in a closer to normal environment instead of alone, their stress levels will decrease and dogs will show more normal behavior.

Measuring the One Health Impact of Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life

Kevin MorrisApril 30, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

The Institutefor Human-Animal Connection at The University of Denver aims to measure the effects of The Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life program on the One Health concept in urban and rural communities. The One Health framework recognizes that human,animal, and ecosystem health are interconnected. Pets for Life (PFL) program aims to remove barriers to accessing companion animal-care services (e.g., spay/neuter, vaccinations, wellness exams, and behavioral training), supplies and information in underserved communities through a person-centered approach.

AlignCare - A Conceptual Model for Veterinary Care Delivery to Families with Limited Means

Michael J. BlackwellFebruary 20, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This research project from the University of Tennessee is a three-year, multi-site investigation into the model, conceptualization and effectiveness of AlignCare&trade;, which aims to utilize the One Health model to improve access to veterinary care for bonded pet owners with limited means to provide veterinary carefor their pets.

Prevalence, Characteristics, Treatment and Outcome of Dogs Presenting to Shelters with Appendicular Fractures

Darryl MillisFebruary 20, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

The main objective of this University of Tennessee research is to evaluate nonsurgical methods of bone fracture treatment in naturally occurring fractures of dogs presented to an animal shelter, Austin Pets Alive!.

A Study of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Kittens

Jennifer ScarlettFebruary 20, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This San Francisco SPCA project evaluates a novel method for treating infectious diarrhea in kittens. San Francisco SPCA kittens with feline panleukopenia will be treated with either supportive care (control group) or supportive care and fecal microbiota transplantation.

Saving Seniors: An Evaluation of Strategies to Increase the Adoption of Senior Dogs

Lisa LunghoferFebruary 20, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This study from The Grey Muzzle Organization aims to save the lives of senior dogs by identifying innovative and effective programs and practices that increase the likelihood of their adoption. The outcome of the project will be recommendations and emerging best practices for animal welfare organizations to increase the adoption of senior dogs and decrease their length of time in care.

Investigation of Perioperative Inadvertent Hypothermia in Cats and Dogs and Effect of Implementing a Thermal Care Bundle

Galina HayesApril 30, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

Cornell University is investigating risk factors for cat or dog hypothermia (low body temperature) around the time of surgery and factors that reduce the incidence of hypothermia.

Ringworm Treatment Study

Ellen JeffersonFebruary 25, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This study from Austin Pet's Alive! will evaluate their protocol for assessing ringworm in cats. Part one will determine the accuracy of APA!'s visual assessment of disease resolution compared to more standard protocols. Part two will assess adopter satisfaction and presence of ringworm amongst cats adopted from the ringworm program.

Socialization Procedures for Dogs from Hoarding Cases

Kellie SniderFebruary 25, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This study from SPCA of Texas aims to evaluate if classical conditioning (in this case, testing withdrawal of human presence and reinforcing brave behavior) in a foster setting will result in greater socialization of dogs from hoarding cases than the same procedures in a shelter setting.

Washington D.C. Total Cat Count

John Boone, Lauren LipseyFebruary 25, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This project from Humane Rescue Alliance aims to compile population-management data about community cats in the Washington D.C. area. The overall goal is to create, for the larger community of animal welfare organizations, a set of straightforward, practical and logistically feasible methods to generate scientifically valid data that can significantly increase positive impacts of trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs.

Influence of Socialization and Foster Programs on Cat Stress Levels and Sociability

Monique UdellMarch 31, 2020   Research In Progress   Basic Research

This project from Oregon State University will evaluate what styles of foster and/or socialization programs benefit cats most in terms of adoption, behavior, and welfare outcomes. Cats will be evaluated in short-term foster(sleepover program), long-term foster, with and without shelter socialization. Cortisol levels (salivary) will be compared at specific time intervals to measure stress.

Two by Two Rescue Community Foster Program

Trudy JohnsonFebruary 26, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 1

This research project from the Alabama-based rescue, Two by Two Rescue, aims to evaluate their program to recruit and retain foster caregivers. Through information gained through this assessment, they hope to increase the number of foster caregivers by 50% (totaling 75 homes) and retain 80% of caregivers for over 1 year.The five components to this program are recruitment, education, support, fulfillment, and evaluation.

The Foster Parent-Foster Dog Bond: Evaluating the Secure-Base Effect as a Mechanism for Mutual Well-Being

Monique Udell, Lauren ThielkeFebruary 26, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 1

The goal of this study from the Human-Animal Interaction Laboratory Department of Animal & Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University is to show that the development of a secure attachment base is beneficial to foster dogs and is associated with better long-term outcomes. The investigators will utilize several validated tests (C-BARQ, LAPS, Behavioral Secure Base Test, Paired Attachment Test, Cognitive Bias,and Social Cognition Test) to assess dogs and their caregivers. The project will work in collaboration with Willamette Humane Society.

Grey Whiskers Senior Cat Program

Audra WoolleyMarch 31, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 1

Whiskers aims to create and assess a Grey Whiskers Senior Cat Program, comprised of a network of foster homes, hospice providers and adopters for senior cats, with a goal of rescuing and placing 120 senior cats. Medical support will be a key lever in making the program and placements successful, as the senior cat population often needs dental care, bloodwork, special diet and various treatments to see an increase in their quality of life and to thrive.

Pop-Up Cat Community Program

Anna MurrinMarch 31, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 2

The goal of this project from Metro Denver CAT is to provide every resident of Denver's high-need neighborhood of Elyria Swansea/Globeville with access to the resources they need to care for owned and free-roaming community cats. A portion of the research's funding will support the trap-neuter-return program, as well as a pre-and post-project survey to measure the residents' perception about cats in their community which will be used to create a template of key indicators and methods for other organizations designing programs for cats in their communities.

Sighthound Sanctuary & Animal Services

Rain JordanFebruary 27, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 2

This pilot study from Sighthound Sanctuary & Animal Services will evaluate the effects of implementing a Fearful Dog Treatment Program on dog behavior and rescue staff perception of fearful dogs at a single rescue organization. The researchers hypothesize that dogs will show less fearful behavior after going through the program and rescue staff will have increased ratings of the adoptability of fearful dogs.

Home to Home

Mandy EvansMarch 31, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 4

This project from the Panhandle Animal Shelter aims to expand the the usage of the Home to Home website and program which encourages pet guardians to rehome their pets rather than surrender them to a shelter. The platform also allows shelters to stay engaged (with a module on their website) in the rehoming process. The project goal, in partnership with the Million Cat Challenge, is to add 50 organizations to the Home to Home online network.

Nationwide Deployment and Evaluation of Fostering Programs in Animal Shelters

Clive WynneMarch 31, 2020   Research In Progress   Phase 4

Arizona State University will assess the impact of day outings, short-term fostering and long-term (at least one week) fostering in 100 shelters across the U.S., and a minimum of 60 dogs/shelter, with a focus on shelters near Arizona and Virginia. In a subset of six shelters, this project will also assess the welfare benefits of fostering through evaluation of behavioral, health and physiological measures collected before, during and after fostering.